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Banyana back home

Banyana Banyana may be ranked a lowly 66th on the FIFA rankings but that’s far from being a true reflection of the competitive nature of the South African team, when one takes their recent performances at the Cyprus Women’s Cup into account.

The Sasol-sponsored senior women’s national team arrived home to a heroes’ welcome on Thursday ÔÇô this after spending 25 days abroad, which included a 11-day training camp in Brazil and then the action at the recently-ended 12-nation Cyprus Women’s Cup.

ÔÇ£We had ample scoring opportunities throughout the tournament and will continue working on our finishing, but what we learnt is that we can hold our own against some of the world’s top teams and the graph will continue to rise as we prepare the team to do South Africa proud at the Olympics,ÔÇØ said Banyana Banyana coach Joseph Mkhonza.

The Banyana Banyana mentor adds that there were lessons learnt from their outing to Brazil and Cyprus which will be rectified at the next camps before the Games.

ÔÇ£Yes, there were lessons learnt. We achieved our mission and objectives of getting the girls exposed to highly tactical teams as well as the aerial strengths of European sides. The training camp we had in Brazil, where we got to work with Bafana Bafana physical trainer Chico Gonzales, did wonders for our fitness. Also, one of the most important things we need to improve is our mental strength and work on ensuring that we score more,ÔÇØ added Mkhonza.

Banyana Banyana finished 10th at the Cyprus Women’s Cup, in recording a 2-1 loss to 16th ranked South Korea, a goal-less draw against New Zealand (24th in the world) and a 2-0 win over Northern Ireland (55th in the world).

In the play-off for 9th and 10th places, Banyana Banyana went down 2-0 to Scotland (ranked 22nd in the world).ÔÇ¿ÔÇ¿ÔÇ£We are very grateful for the tough experience gained in Cyprus as we are winding down our final preparations for the Olympics. We expected things and other teams to be hard and they really came at us,ÔÇØ said Banyana captain Amanda Dlamini.
ÔÇ£Some of the teams we played against have been at the Olympics and World Cup tournaments before so we valued the experience. We have come back with self-confidence and belief in ourselves,ÔÇØ she added.


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